Talk:Virtual folder

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They're not completely speculative. Tag clouds are a type, as are the labels in gmail. — Omegatron 22:52, 24 January 2006 (UTC)


This article needs new Vista screenshots as the existing ones are deprecated. Virtual folders in Vista are now known as Saved Searches. --rdude 18:54, 3 June 2006 (UTC)

Yeah, I personally have been hesitant to keep the article updated because this feature has been changing from release to release. Warrens 19:35, 3 June 2006 (UTC)
Agreed. We should probably wait until the final release, unless somebody wants to put in shots for the latest major release (Beta 2). rdude 00:44, 4 June 2006 (UTC)

Focus of the article[edit]

First of all, I think the focus of the article is not clearly defined. Is it on "Virtual Folders", per se? Then the the {{Future software}} template should be moved to the "Windows Vista" section. And since the article also includes implemenation specific sections (Vista), shouldn't "Smart folders" be merged into this article in a Mac OS X section. And similarly create sections for IIS, Outlook and Lotus Agenda, AutoPlaylists in WMP and iTunes etc etc. If there is not enough info for individual implementations, may be a bullted list in "other implementations" (or similar) section. Or if it is to be Vista specific, generic info should be given the boot. And later moved to the stable name Vista adopts. --soUmyaSch 08:44, 4 June 2006 (UTC)

The problem is that Vista is mentioned throughout the article, not just in the Vista section. That's why I felt the tag should be on the entire article. Ideally, though, the article should be rewritten and rearranged with more examples of virtual folder implementations and confinement of Vista material to the Vista section. rdude 17:20, 4 June 2006 (UTC)
There is definitely too much focus on Vista in this article. Warrens 17:28, 4 June 2006 (UTC)
Removed Vista focus from non-vista sections, as far as I could. If this is sorted out, we may proceed by merging Mac OS X Smart Folders into this article in a Mac section. --soUmyaSch 04:31, 5 June 2006 (UTC)

Mac OS[edit]

Please expand the Mac section and add a screenshot. --soumসৌমোyasch 05:57, 8 June 2006 (UTC)

Dynamic content[edit]

Virtual folders are not necessarily dynamically populated or generated. A virtual folder may also be non-dynamic: that is, the user selects the items to assign to one or more virtual folders, based on content, project, or whatever other criteria the user chooses. An example of user-populated virtual folders integrated with a non-hierarchical file organizer is TaskTracker. The connecting principle is therefore the non-hierarchical relationship of virtual folders to the operating system's hierarchical file system. Many studies of human cognition amply demonstrate that relational organization, by association and identification, is far more compelling than hierarchical organization. Hence the adoption of virtual folders as a user interface metaphor.

I am removing this because it, unless sourced, is just someone's commentary, and factually incorrect. In addition, far more compelling is nothing but POV. Many studies of human cognition amply demonstrate needs citation. The connecting principle is therefore the non-hierarchical relationship of virtual folders to the operating system's hierarchical file system is wrong as virtual folders need not connect to OS' folder hierarchy. (Outlook's virtual folders, anyone?). Plus not necessarily dynamically populated is factually incorrect. The article already says virtual folders are some scripts which coalesce results from some datastore. In the example given, the criteria is specified by the user, not the virtual folder's contents. The contents are still pulled up on-the-fly by the system. --soumসৌমোyasch 08:22, 28 July 2006 (UTC)

Internet Information Services[edit]

Can someone source this statement added by User:Michaelmross: "Virtual folders are a well-established construct in web servers, such as Microsoft Internet Information Services, where files matching the criteria are shared on the internet." From looking at Microsoft's documentation, as far as I can tell their use of "virtual folders" seems to be short hand for "virtual servers that are based on the content of certain folders".[1] AlistairMcMillan 17:41, 21 January 2007 (UTC)

AFAIK, IIS' implementation of what it calls virtual folder just makes contents real folders available over HTTP. It may be scripted to serve files matching a certain criteria or access permission. But I do not think it can aggregate content from multiple real folders. I will check, though. --soumসৌমোyasch 22:19, 21 January 2007 (UTC)

Object Productivity Inc edits[edit]

I've removed the recent content added to the article by Robert Thompson (using the anon IP User: about his company and his products. I'm sure some of this belongs in the article, but this much is excessive. AlistairMcMillan (talk) 18:19, 31 October 2009 (UTC)

The implementation of Virtual Folders that involves searching has been patented by INTEL in Patent 5,899,995. This patent is shared in "Patent Portfolios" among Apple Computer (see SmartFolders menu) and others.
The implementation of Virtual Folders that involves automated behavior beyond saving and optimizing search results is embodied in Microsoft Patents 5,771,384 and 5,682,532. These patents are also shared in a Patent Portfolio among Microsoft Corp. and Apple Computer in their Folder Actions.
However, the origins of the Virtual Folder are found in a software application called "Object Organizer" from Object Productivity, Inc. which implemented a hybrid storage system (hierarchical with linking) for automating folder behavior and was released by invitation from Microsoft, at the exclusive Microsoft event that launched Windows NT, called "Partners in Innovation" at COMDEX in Atlanta, Georgia in the Spring of 1993. Object Organizer featured a technology called SmartFolders. Microsoft chose Object Productivity, Inc.'s Object Organizer out of all the participants in the "Partners in Innovation" event, to be shown at Microsoft's booth at the Electronic Mail Association show (EMA) 2 weeks later, also in Atlanta. A year later, Microsoft patented the SmartFolders concept and called it IShellFolder in Windows and documented it on their MSDN Library as "Virtual Folders" in the patent, they subtly wiggled in the diversion name "IShellContainer" (all public knowledge; none of this is confidential to Thompson v Microsoft, see below).
A public tape of the OLE Developer Conference in Seattle, also in the Spring of 1993, shows Microsoft claiming SmartFolders technology as their own. One year later, Microsoft issued a press release referring to the previous years EMA event saying "Microsoft demonstrated it's Object Productivity SmartFolder technology at the EMA last year." This press release can be found on research press archives such as LexisNexis and verified in the Microsoft Prior-Art references that mention Object Productivity's SmartFolder technology in 2 out of 4 Prior-Art references where the other 2 are for vague technologies, and were for companies not intimately involved in a Microsoft invitation and follow up event, and a patent one year later.
Virtual folders can also be implemented in self contained storage systems such as the Microsoft Exchange Storage System, which was migrated to WinFS. The first implementation of a self-contained storage system was Object Productivity, Inc's "Object Organizer" application, featured by Microsoft in an invitation only ISV developer event called "Partners in Innovation" in Atlanta, Georgia at COMDEX in the Spring of 1993, and later again by more exclusive invitation by Microsoft, at Microsoft's EMA Booth at the Electronic Mail Association show 2-weeks later in Atlanta. Microsoft filed for a patent on what it called "Virtual Folders" exactly one year after showing Object Productivity, Inc's application at it's events.
The first historically established implementation of Virtual Folders was featured at Microsoft's "Partners in Innovation" Pavilion at COMDEX Atlanta, in 1993 by Independent_software_vendor Object Productivity, Inc. "Partners in Innovation" was an invitation only event designed, at the time, to showcase the best of breed applications that supported the first release of Windows NT.
LexisNexis has several articles on the event and on the Object Productivity software that features the SmartFolder technology, a software application called "Object Organizer" which featured its own unique storage system implementation integrated with an operating system.
SmartFolders, by Object Productivity, is also cited in Microsoft's 1994 Patent 5,682,532[1] where 2 out of 4 prior arts reference the Object Productivity, Inc. software called "Object Organizer" featuring "SmartFolders."
The other 2 prior arts out of the 4 are from 2 separate companies that neither implement virtual folders or were involved in any close relations with Microsoft, such as participating in the invitation only "Partners in Innovation" event, and as the LexisNexis articles point out, also the "Electronic Mail Association (EMA)" event that followed that showcased Object Productivity, Inc. software at Microsoft's own booth because of its dual support for MAPI and CMC (Common Mail Calls) interface which allows SmartFolders to be e-mailed on an automated basis with any compliant e-mail software. In at least one press release a year later referring to the event, Microsoft states "Microsoft demonstrated it's Object Productivity SmartFolders software" implying vaguely some sort of ownership. These are factual and independent facts of history, verified by LexisNexis press archives of multiple sources.
Object Organizer featuring SmartFolders, was seen by PC Magazine's Editor in Chief, Michael J. Miller in the Pre-Show Press Preview the night before Microsoft's "Partners in Innovation" at Atlanta's 1993 Spring COMDEX show. The display booth prominently showed a large poster saying "SmartFolders."
As cited in Thompson v Microsoft, Thompson being the owner and CEO of Object Productivity, Inc. [2]
In the early 1990s, a number of programmers were working on enhanced, programmable folders for use in computer operating systems like Windows. Thompson conceived and developed software that used object-oriented programming concepts to create programmable and extendible folders for improved data storage, which Thompson called "SmartFolders." In January 1993, Thompson posted a question to a computer forum seeking assistance on a bug he encountered when trying to incorporate Windows' clipboard feature into SmartFolders. Thompson alleges that a representative of Microsoft's Developer Relations Group contacted him to assist in solving the problem and that Thompson sent part of his software to that representative in January 1993. Shortly afterward, Rick Segal, another member of the Developer Relations Group, allegedly contacted Thompson regarding co-marketing opportunities for the SmartFolders software at the Windows World trade show in May. In furtherance of that opportunity, Thompson developed a version of SmartFolders for Microsoft's upcoming Windows NT operating software and allegedly sent that version to Microsoft on April 23, 1993. Thompson concedes that he did not enter into any nondisclosure agreement or other formal contractual relationship with Microsoft. Thompson nevertheless alleges that he shared the technology in confidence and with the understanding that Microsoft would not appropriate the technology for its own use.
Thompson's SmartFolders feature in Object Organizer as described in these press archives and as established in discovery as "Intelligent Behavior Added to Folders" used the mechanism of embedding external scripting languages inside the folder to act on the passive files, called objects in Object Organizer, to perform routine tasks. It also implemented a mechanism of templating these virtual folders for re-use.
The matter at hand regarding Thompson v Microsoft as of the date of the above Federal appeal, was that of Jurisdiction as the referenced Court Document States.
Thompson's attorney, Andrew Kochanowski, however, was discovered to be a classmate of Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, both attending Michigan's Elite Detroit_Country_Day_School during the same years in the early 1970's. Kochanowski never revealed this to Thompson.
Steve_Ballmer, is on the Detroit_Country_Day_School Board of Trustees and a HighBeam_Research article cites "Ballmer Loyal Guy - Country Day Folks Say" and mentions that he contacts the Headmaster weekly. The world known Steve_Ballmer with all his educational awards at the time, while attending a small elite school such as Detroit_Country_Day_School at the same time as Thompson's attorney Andrew Kochanowski, and nearly 30 years later during a time when Ballmer, very active on the Board of Trustees with Detroit Country Day, was Prominent as the CEO of Microsoft, makes this a very serious legal issue for the Michigan State Bar Attorney Grievance Commission and of important relevance to the history of Virtual Folders that simply do not contain files, but are virtual in that they have functionality that acts on the folder in an automated way.
Virtual Folders are an especially important technology for the future of Mobile_computing. The 2 years leading up to the development of Thompson's SmartFolders and its public release featured by Microsoft in 1993 "Partners in Innovation" (all established factually), and Microsoft's patent filing in 1994 make very clear the origins of the Virtual Folder concept.
It is worth noting that Robert Thompson, his Attorney for the case Andrew Kochanowski, and Mr. Steve Ballmer are all natives or residents of the State of Michigan. Ballmer was born in Detroit, while Thompson was born in Madison Heights. Andrew Kochanowski practices law at Sommers, PC in Southfield Michigan and is currently a resident, and of course, attended Detroit_Country_Day_School as a classmate of Steve Ballmer at the elite prep school.
Mr. Kochanowski will be undergoing a review by the State Bar of Michigan Attorney Grievance Commission through a complaint by Thompson in 2010, due to Mr. Kochanowski not revealing this conflict of interest, which under Michigan State Bar rules must be revealed, and in an editorial review of these rules[3], must be revealed even in Familial circumstances. This page will be updated upon the Commissions conclusion. There is much more to the complaint that deserves attention here. To be sure, Kochanowski himself stated that Thompson was the first to use the Virtual Folder concept. Thompson speculates that this was a "managed case" though does not claim this with certainty until an investigation is complete. He has contacted Senator Carl_Levin (D), Majority (R) Leader Mike Bishop of Michigan, and the Department of Justice who have all recommended a Grievance complaint in writing.
Thompson is currently developing a new version of SmartFolders for SmartPhones at; both for Google Android Devices, Blackberry Storm series, Apple iPhone and all Adobe Flash Mobile Compliant devices. Thompson is seeking to reestablish his right to practice his ideas after discovering Microsoft's patent misappropriation which remained a matter of Jurisdictional Judgement by the Federal Courts before his council Andrew Kochanowski threatened to not continue if he did not settle the case.
After enduring a 10 year preparation, discovery & litigation, Thompson is now pursuing Intelligent Storage Technology development for Mobile Computing. The new SmartFolders will use different mechanisms than the original technology, to utilize updated theories in Complex Systems, combined with other unnamed mechanisms not mentioned in this citation, in a novel system for Virtual Folders for use in Mobile_computing, using SmartFolders for all SmartPhone devices.

Robert's recent edits[edit]

Please read WP:OR. Pointing to MSDN and saying Microsoft used the phrase "virtual folder" in their documentation, only proves that Microsoft used the phrase in their documentation. If you want to say that this is the first wide spread use of the phrase, then you need to provide a source that says this is the first wide spread use.

Please note that the article, before Robert's edits, doesn't say who came up with the idea first. Mostly because when I re-wrote it there weren't any definitive reliable sources. Just some people say X did it, other people say Y and yet another group of people say Z. So until someone can come up with a source that satisfies the requirement that content is backed with reliable sources, it is best not to include in the article. AlistairMcMillan (talk) 18:13, 1 November 2009 (UTC)

The above comments are not my own. The below are my own and are confidential between Wikipedia and myself, Robert Thompson, and a 3rd party observer as witness.
When I get a response from you to a Historically relevant and factual posting that says "accusing Wikipedia editors" it indicates that there was no attention paid to the "** IF ** MICROSOFT IS DONATING" - I said " IF " - I did not CONCLUDE.
Commenting that I'm "Accusing" also indicates that you are not aware as I am of a 10 year legal battle with Thompson v Microsoft whereby I was able to go through thousands of Discovery documents provided by Microsoft.
It is UN-FACTUAL that I am not informed.
To be clear, The United Sates Patent and Trademark Office IS A VERIFIABLE SOURCE.
I KNOW AS FACT: INTEL Corporation HAS CLAIM on the "Searching" Virtual Folder concept that is a large part of this article. See PATENT CITATIONS BELOW.
I KNOW AS FACT: Microsoft Corporation HAS CLAIM on the "Virtual Folder" concept that is only someone discussed in this article and is instead diverted to Special_Folders, where IN FACT, although Special_Folders are mentioned, note that this does not preclude the fact "Virtual Folder" as a term is something Microsoft first began to use. See PATENT CITATIONS BELOW. IShellContainer IS IShellFolder by it's definition in the patent and by it's definition, literally by it's construct, in the Microsoft MSDN Developer Documentation referring to Windows 95 onward. If you would like to see copies of all the MSDN Published Articles on THIS FACT, please let me know an e-mail address or upload page I can upload them to and you can verify for yourself The Authors, their direct reference to IShellFolder as "Virtual Folders" and the Patent analysis that the constructs of IShellContainer and IShellFolder are identical.
You response to me was one of being Offensive and Not Rational, and it indicates that you were Offended that, in analogy, "How dare I challenge your Editorial Approval position."
Accepting Public Funds, getting offended and individual seeking to GET TO THE TRUTH does not make you in your position Immune to Rational Debate.
Moreover, my case was one of "Unjust Enrichment" which has established facts of Discovery in it, and I've already been in contact with Senators in my State, and The Department of Justice regarding the relationship between my Attorney and Mr. Ballmer.
If you cannot debate factually from Outside Sources of HIGHEST AUTHORITY then I'm **inclined** to think that there is something wrong here.
Please keep in mind that I have seen much more information on this, including Confidential information that I will not discuss, during a 10 year Patent Forensics study I did for my Attorney. The PUBLIC INFORMATION is Indisputable and for you to amicably to discuss these facts with me, I want to speak to either Your Supervisor or other Controller of Wikipedia content.
AS I STATED Wikipedia has been a great source of inspiration for new ideas for me. But for you to slam-bash me for noting that I hope potential Microsoft and/or Apple Donations are not compromising this process will be an issue for me if it turns out that way. I don't intend to be bullied around when I'm producing verifiable facts.
I'm in a holding pattern right now as to my image of Wikipedia; and I want to resolve THE FACTS in a reasonable debate with any Editor at Wikipedia. Accepting Public Donations and not allowing this, is a serious matter if you cannot allow someone to set the record straight. Someone, I, who by the way no longer has the company Object Productivity, Inc. we went out of business shortly after Microsoft dropped their licensing interest. When I registered in 1999 to take another go at my ideas, with were spawned from my College years getting a Computer Science Degree, I went to the and did a Trademark Search but had clicked the wrong button and up-came the Patents below, whereby immediately thereafter I obtained council regarding the patents. The council did not however do as The State Bar of Michigan requires, and reveal Familial interests.
Here are the Patents which you can research for yourself. Please ensure that your Supervisor gets these facts. If we cannot Rationally Discuss this, then AND ONLY THEN (so please do not put conclusive words in my mouth) I will be inclined by matter of conscience to look into the legal standing of a Company accepting Public Donations and Not Allowing an accurate record. Therefore, please let there be a Witness besides yourself to these facts, namely, Your Supervisor, or Controller. I have my own 3rd party witness to these facts going on. I do not want to escalate this into a childish argument, I want the facts to be clarified and I want to ensure, given the rejection of my posts, that there is no improper outside influence. WITHOUT ACCUSATION, I must tell you I have a direct contact in the Obama Administration regarding a Federal Attorney I have a contact for who can look into this independently if a Rational Debate is refused for a Company receiving Public Funds, POSSIBLY, from Microsoft Corp. and/or Apple Computer.
PAT. NO. Title
1 5,899,995 Method and apparatus for automatically organizing information
2 5,771,384 Method and system for replacement and extension of container interfaces
3 5,682,532 System and method having programmable containers with functionality for managing objects
The link to these patents is to go to,
And enter the Term 1 SmartFolders. You will find information on Virtual Folders in the Microsoft Patents 2 and 3, 5,682,532 filed exactly 366 days after they showed my product at "Partners in Innovation" and 5,771,384 respectively. You will find the INTEL based patent which embodies the "Search Folder" idea. Which in essence is not a Search Folder but a "SmartFolder."
Although INTEL used the term SmartFolders long after I did, and I cannot discuss when Microsoft used SmartFolders internally, I am not debating who came up with any term first, but to MAKE ACCURATE THE RECORD of the term "Virtual Folders" which is backed up by your Wiki link Special_Folders (see Figure 1) and see the Patents for Microsoft.
I also would like to create a Clear record of definition for "SmartFolders" as the term is different in Mac OS X (Apple uses Patent Portfolio of INTEL for the SmartFolders menu, which is FACT), and I was the first Developer to embody some specific INDEPENDENT CLAIMS of the Microsoft Patent. At the end of my case resolution there was no disputed fact as to the Discovery. There was only a matter of Jurisdiction and the Attorney, who again knows Steve Ballmer, shut the case down once Stan Schwartz, the founder of the firm passed away. Mr. Schwartz would have never allowed this to happen as I was instrumental in the start up of his company Sv3 Media Group and them obtaining a $2 Million credit on advertising with WRIF Radio.
Once again, I'm in a position to know much, and I've discovered terrible behavior by Microsoft over the years.
Therefore, I insist, respectfully, you include this communication to Your Senior Editors or to the Controlling Supervisor(s), or ultimately to Wikipedia Management and/or Legal.
Very Sincerely,
Robert D. Thompson
BsCs Computer Science, 1990
Minor Studies in Cognitive Science
Senior Thesis and Research Grant Developer for IBM/Charlotte
Plaintiff in Thompson v Microsoft, privy to 10 years of, Separately, Public, and Confidential Information from Microsoft Corp. as ordered by Federal District Court — Preceding unsigned comment added by Robert.d.thompson (talkcontribs) 23:14, 1 November 2009 (UTC)
Please be advised that these comments are no longer confidential, as you have contributed them to Wikipedia under GFDL. Have a nice day. Toddst1 (talk) 13:42, 2 November 2009 (UTC)

Mobile email clients[edit]

Any reason why (as far as I know) no mobile email clients have smart folders? They all are very inbox-centric. Even Microsoft seem to have forgotten smart folders, even though they have server rules. What's the point with server rules if your phone still think you only get your mail to the inbox? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 01:01, 12 October 2010 (UTC)

  1. ^ United States Patent and Trademark Office. "Microsoft Patent 5,771,384 (1994)". United States Patent and Trademark Office. Retrieved 2009-10-30. 
  2. ^ United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (December 8, 2006). "Thompson v Microsoft" (PDF). United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. Retrieved 2009-10-30. 
  3. ^ Dawn M. Evans (March, 2008). "How to Identify and Avoid Conflicts of Interest" (PDF). State Bar of Michigan. Retrieved 2009-10-30.  Check date values in: |date= (help)